Cancel culture is rapidly becoming a social dilemma. While others believe it is a necessary evil, we are spiraling into an era where mistakes, a difference in opinion and other stand-alone offenses are weaponized to bring down others and damage reputation.
Replace cancel culture with accountability culture
We must accept that people are going to make mistakes
Sometimes, even political correctness is used by clout chasers to call for boycotts of people, products and services, based on personal perceptions and feelings.
As a society, we must go beyond bringing people down and seek a culture that gives room for growth and transformation, while holding people accountable for their actions or words.
We must accept that people are going to make mistakes.
For many, these mistakes are in the confines of private spheres, away from public backlash and scrutiny.
Those in the public eye are not afforded the same luxury. Their mistakes are weighed against higher standards of common decency, ethics, and integrity that we have placed on them.
However, it is hypocritical to turn a blind eye to the fact that making a mistake does not erase the positive things one has done; it provides a lesson on how to do things better or differently.
We all want to live in a society where people’s actions and words promote the well-being of others.
So, we have individual and collective responsibility to differentiate a person who is willing to accept the harm they have caused and change their behavior moving forward and a serial wrongdoer whose tone-deaf words or actions continuously bring harm to others.
We should not punish those who are genuinely on their own path of growth and learning because it is easy to pass judgement and cancel.
Cancel culture is an example of mob mentality that fails to offer long-term measures to ensure the change we seek is not construed as a tool to punish or destroy.
To bring change, we do not need to flex our muscles to show how woke we are by creating hashtags to cancel others.
In an era where it is easier to criticize instead of seeking ways we can hold each other accountable, we need to be careful so that cancel culture does not silence constructive debates or be used as a weapon for mob rejection.
We need to use our social media power as a social good to build others up, not tear others down. We need to use our "wokeness" to interrogate frameworks and open dialogue, call for processes, systems, and structures to be accountable for the well-being of others.
Just because cancel culture is rampant in other parts of the world does not mean we have to enforce it.
We can borrow from it and create our own model that can guide people and brands to work in freedom but also be aware that they will be held accountable for their actions, words, and behaviors. This is a more productive model to move our society forward.
The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted by Linda Okero to Pulse Live Kenya for publication. Linda is a communications and development enthusiast who has been involved in socio-economic transformation in Micro-Finance, Government, Business Acceleration and Advocacy space. She is currently the Coordinator of the UNCTAD Youth Action Hub – Kenya, a YALI Alumni and Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
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